Over half of Brits sleep in dirty sheets

Posted by Charlotte Salter, on January 9, 2013.

New research has revealed that over half (52%) of Brits could be sleeping in unclean sheets, and this can have serious implications for people with allergies such as asthma and rhinitis. Just 2 in 5 of us (40%) are managing to change our sheets weekly, 36% perform the task fortnightly, whilst shockingly, 17% of us fall far short of the mark and admit to changing dirty sheets just once a month or even less frequently.

Dr Adam Fox, a paediatric allergist at a leading London teaching hospital said:  “We spend about a third of our lives asleep and this is reflected in the debris that we leave between the sheets. Our bodies shed millions of skin cells each day, many of which rub off in our sleep and are deposited in our beds. In addition to skin cells, our bodies also secrete fluids, sweat and oils during a long nights sleep.

Sleeping with the enemy

He continued: “Whilst unsavoury in themselves, these deposits mostly pose a problem as they are all deliciously appealing for dust mites. Dust mites in themselves are quite harmless, however the droppings of these microscopic creatures are laden with allergens which can cause health complications. When inhaled, these allergens can provoke asthma and rhinitis and may also worsen eczema.”

Dr Fox advises: “In order to reduce the possible problems caused by dust mites, the professional recommendation is that people with dust mite allergies should be taking a number of measures to reduce allergen exposure. Those who suffer particularly badly should consider investing in dust mite proof bedding and we should all be making it a priority to wash our sheets on a one to two weekly basis at 60 degrees.”

The Dunelm Mill House Proud Report, conducted by YouGov, looked into the housekeeping habits of over 2,000 British adults. Women were revealed to be the more lax of the two sexes when it came to bedroom hygiene. Over half of women (55%) do not clean their sheets weekly, with 12% changing the sheets once a month and 1% admitting to never changing them at all. Men, on the other hand, were crowned kings of clean, with 40% changing the sheets with weekly regularity, and a further 8% managing to do it even more frequently than that.

Good bedroom hygiene

Carole Brown, the spokesperson for Dunelm Mill commented: “Resting your head on fresh sheets is one of life’s simple pleasures which should not be underestimated. Seeing as we spend about a third of our lives asleep it is important to have good bedroom hygiene and change the sheets regularly.

“Our research shows that there is room for improvement in British bed changing habits. We homeowners need to treat our households like the fortresses they are, and that means keeping them clean.”

The research also exposed the Britain’s cleanest regions, with the Scottish and those from the North West found to be the people with the best sheet changing habits, as 50% and 51% respectively change their sheets on a weekly basis or more frequently. By comparison people in the South East fell short of the mark, where just 41% claimed the same:

The nation’s freshest sheets
1=North West
3East of England
4East Midlands
5West Midlands
6=Yorkshire & Humber
7=South West
8=North East
8=South East
Contact the UKCPI on ukcpi@ukcpi.org or call 07843 199397.